Pictured: Touring the Unanderra centre that provides back-up for NSW government information are Finance Minister Andrew Constance, NextGen chief executive Peter McGrath, Metronode general manager Malcolm Roe, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Kiama MP Gareth Ward. Credit: GREG TOTMAN
Protected by security fencing, guards and retinal scanners, a Unanderra facility provides back-up for all the data the NSW government needs to continue functioning.
Built by data centre company Metronode - part of the Nextgen Group - the Unanderra facility works as a back-up to the main data storage centre in Silverwater.
Metronode general manager Malcolm Roe said the security was necessary as the data included people's personal information.
"You can imagine that over time the state will migrate all records - licence records, superannuation records and more, into these facilities," Mr Roe said.
"That's why security is a very important operational criteria around the facility."
The NSW government has consolidated about 130 centres down to two, making the Unanderra facility the only one outside Sydney.
"For us it's an attractive location to provide disaster recovery from Sydney," he said.
"So we're away from Sydney should something happen to the computer system up there.
"It's also very attractive for our federal government colleagues who are looking for disaster recovery option for Canberra."
Mr Roe said the facility represented an investment of $125 million in the region and the facility had already been of benefit.
"During construction we engaged nearly 950 individual staff on this site," Mr Roe said.
"During the operations phase hundreds of people are involved in maintaining the computer systems and the applications."
NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance visited the centre for its official opening yesterday.
He said the decision to base the facility in the Illawarra was driven in part by its high-tech base.
"If you look at the Illawarra region it's one of the fastest growing in the state," Mr Constance said.
"There are 5200 people who work in ICT in the Illawarra region today. That's only going to further expand.
"After yesterday with the announcement of iAccelerate at the University of Wollongong, through the funding from the port lease, we will continue to see the ICT sector expand.
"It makes sense to have facilities such as this in regional areas of NSW. From a cost perspective from the state government, it makes sense to have two facilities not 130."